***TRIGGER WARNING*** Post involves talk on self-harm, eating disorders and other issues.
I had an epiphany yesterday while getting ready for Aerial class, I am so much healthier since I’ve been happier. I have moments like anybody does, where I feel gross and ‘fat’, but generally I am very happy and excited by life now which is a far cry from what I’ve been like in previous years. I want to quickly make a point that I never received treatment or professional help for my eating issues in the past, it is one of the biggest regrets in my life and I can’t stress enough how noone should continue struggling with their mental health, or physical health for that matter. Due to me not receiving professional health and getting a diagnoses I just call my past issues Disordered Eating as it’s pretty obvious something was seriously wrong.
I’m not sure when it all started, I honestly remember being like this all my life. I think it stemmed from being a very shy child, I was very unconfident and this caused a lot of issues at school and meeting strangers. I always remember hating to eat in front of strangers and was always some what of a fussy eater. It also didn’t help that I was brought up with people who were so very unhappy with themselves. But I don’t think my eating problems were seriously problematic until I was a teenager in Secondary School, for someone who was quite young for my age, it was a HUGE transition going from Middle School to Secondary School. I never properly thought about dating boys, wearing makeup and stuff like that but then in school suddenly it was such a big deal.. I felt pretty overwhelmed to be honest. I started to do what the other girls were doing as I didn’t want to be the odd one out and I just got caught up in everything, some stuff that happened in that first year of my new school really crumbled my confidence. I wish I could go back and not date stupid boys and not be friends with certain people, but hindsight is a bitch! Year 8 was the year I was introduced to self harming too, I remember two of my friends showing me their cuts and it just triggered something in me, cutting became a regular thing for the next five years after that.
It wasn’t until either Year 9 or 10 that things really hit the fan, I started going on a certain Social Media website that I won’t name, however I quickly discovered the Pro-Ana and Mia (pro Anorexia and Bulimia) communities on this website, it ignited a huge, unhealthy obsession which will always somewhat scar me. From looking at the pro-ana posts on that social media website I was directed to other websites, most of these involved sharing tips with other people with eating issues and keeping track of weight loss. Some of the stuff I saw on those sites were fucking disgusting and I can’t imagine how much worse it has got since.
Through the next few years I developed a weird routine of restricting food for a couple of weeks then bingeing for the next few weeks and trying to make myself purge. I started to take a diary around with me everywhere I went and obsessively weighed myself everyday and wrote my weight in the diary, I also wrote down quotes from the people I was talking to on the pro-ana websites. I did this for a while until my mum got suspicious and hid the scales from me, thank you Mum, I have never thanked you for doing that. It wasn’t until a few years ago that I sort of realised that my eating problems got worse when I found general life to be stressful, I was really upset, or I was having issues with boyfriends at the time or friends. The restricted eating was seemed to be somewhat of a coping mechanism for me, it gave me something to focus on instead of whatever was going on in my life.. which is so so so unhealthy.
My college years were quite frankly.. fucking shit. I didn’t want to be doing A-Levels in the first place and it was made worse by the fact I was bullied by people I thought were friends. I started drinking a lot and getting involved with things that wasn’t what I naturally would do, just anything to escape what I was feeling I guess. Thinking back on it, that was probably where my eating problems were at it’s absolute worse. I should have got help in those two years and I really wish I did. I became a complete shell of myself, it wasn’t until I started University that things got a little bit better. I still wasn’t happy but I met some great people at Uni and I started dating my first serious boyfriend so life peaked for a while. I was still drinking a lot through Uni, which didn’t help my already fragile state, my relationship at the time had huge highs and lows and I found being in education still really unfulfilling. However I stopped cutting and was eating a bit better, I still had the bad thoughts in my head and had to really ween myself off of the pro-ana material online.
In all honesty, I don’t think I’ll ever be 100% over all that happened in those years, but the last 2 years have been so so so much better! I can’t remember the last time I cut, purged or restricted my eating and I have completely abandoned the pro-ana/pro-mia websites. In the last two years I have got my driving licence, bought a car, got my passport, got a good job that I like, went back to Pole Dancing and Aerial and already celebrated two anniversaries with my boyfriend (soon to be a third!). I got lucky, so so lucky, I am so thankful that things didn’t get worse before they got better as I know not all people are as lucky as me. I mostly thank my boyfriend for being there through all my breakdowns and for being so patient with me, many people before him didn’t bother but he did. If you are reading this, thank you, thank you Dan for being my rock and my life saver ❤ I have surrounded myself with great friends and family through the past 4 years too, it’s surprising how things can get better when you surround yourself with positive, lovely people.
I wrote this post, not for attention, but to outline how disordered eating isn’t just Anorexia and Bulimia, there is a whole spectrum. Not everyone gets treatment and there’s no stigma in that but also I really would advice anyone reading this to go to your doctor, it’s not fun to go through personal problems without guidance. I talk a lot on my Instagram about body positivity and how being good to my body and mind has worked wonders. For anyone struggling, see a professional, find a sport you love (it will give you so much confidence) and start to tell yourself you are worth it, you are worthy of life – a good life.
My inbox is open to anyone who needs someone to talk to, thank you for reading, it means a lot to me ❤
B-eat (Beat Eating Disorders)
Helpline: 0808 801 0677
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MGEDT (Men Get Eating Disorders Too)
Helpline: 07000 784 985
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